Educators of the Year breakfast emphasizes leadership

David Broyles Staff Reporter

August 24, 2013

North Surry High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTS) performed a flag folding ceremony to accent leadership at the annual Surry County Schools Educators of the Year Breakfast. This was the first time the group had performed this at the event.

Cadets talked to the audience about personal beliefs or insights in leadership after each tri-fold of the flag. The group also acted as an honor guard for the breakfast. Cadet Commander Alex Bowes said one goal he had was to create a climate of leadership to allow each cadet to grow to their capacity as a leader. Board of Education Chairman Earlie Coe welcomed the group to the event.

“You’re an elite group of people we appreciate,” said Coe. “You’re the best of the best. We love what you do for our children. Keep doing what you’re doing.”

Celia Hodges, 2013-2014 principal of the year, spoke about comments she solicited from every principal in the district about what they were looking forward to. Responses ranged from making a big impact even with a small school, excitement about building new relationships with faculty and staff at new assignments, and gratitude to be returning to familiar communities.

“Here I am again. I really don’t know what to say after my speech at convocation,” said 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year Pedro Caro. “Today I’m hopeful I have a question for you to reflect on.” He drew passages from the work of author and consultant Stephen Covey regarding leadership and discussed Covey’s belief about the “boomerang generation.”

“Because of the speed and complexity of society facts no longer are a huge difference between those who succeed and don’t,” said Caro. “High school graduates excel on exams but cannot plan, resolve problems and express themselves. These skills are part of leadership and it has amounted to a generation where kids come back home because of a lack of leadership qualities. They cannot gain their own independence. We cannot be accomplices to this. We must reinforce (these skills) by doing. We must push our students into the community and establish a leadership culture.”

Caro ended his discussion by reminding teachers they could help students to become boomerangs or “zoomerangs.” Board Vice Chairman Brian Gates told the group the recent convocation was his twelfth since becoming a board member.

“Each year it (convocation) gets better and better,” said Gates. “I have learned there are three stock elements to convocation speeches, humor, inspiration and a challenge. Every year I laugh. I cry. I revive. Like Pedro (Caro) we all have our own boarders to cross. Each of you has your own stories to share. I hope you can share them as you listen to the stories of your students.”

The board presented certificates and license plate covers to the Teachers of the Year in addition to a check for $250. Principal of the Year Hodges, received a check for $500. The 20013-20014 Teachers of the Year are Robin Callaway, Emily Johnson, Mary Sausebach, Lori Beasley, chad Freeman, Amy Jones, Pedro Caro, Christie Robertson, Sally Adams, Tobey Mitchell, Myra Combs, Daphne Wright, Brooke Golding, Sarah Johnson, Buffey Moore, Jamie Witherspoon, Jenny Key, Melissa Varney and Amanda Adams.

Reach David Broyles at or 719-1952.